The Flash TV Series, Season 5

Brief review of The Flash, season 5, telling the story of the daughter of Barry Allen and Iris West Allen.

Lots of time travel, and good character moments.

Much good fun and excitement in following the journey of Nora West Allen, also known as the speedster XS (excess), and the quest to stop the unstoppable Cicada with the indestructible (or not) lightning shaped dagger.

I was well entertained and will rate this season a bit over average, 7/10.

 

Scorpion TV series (4 seasons)

Over the last few months I have been watching “Scorpion” on the recommendation of a friend.
The series rums over 4 seasons, and is the story of a group of people with genius level IQ helping out Homeland (and others) with seemingly unsolvable problems.
The group is assisted by their (non-genius) partners, their Homeland handler and a former waitress who happens to have a genius son.
The problems range from saving a puppy, over environmental disasters to preventing the apocalypse.
The characters are reasonably well drawn. There is an amount of character development, and going from having an EQ of almost nothing to some EQ is not nothing.
Lots of fun moments during their problem solving makes it quite entertaining.
The series is somewhat formulaic, each episode having a problem almost solved something goes horribly wrong and then has to be solved. It always works in the end. I would have liked to see cases that they could not solve properly.
Sometimes the solutions are, to me, at least, obvious technical/scientific mistakes, making them ridiculous. OK, that’s part of the fun to me.
I think the 4th season is not as strong as the first 3. it feels to me like the writer(s) were running out of ideas.
I like the series, but it does not warrant a repeat viewing. There is better stuff out there, and a lot of stuff that I have not seen yet … priorities …
I rate the series as a whole to an average 7/10.

Sense8Con2, Part 3, Day 2, Sunday

First item of the day was a group photo with every guest from the show.

I came in early and had a more expensive ticket giving some preference in the access to the photos.

I brought a small gift, some Dutch “Stroopwafels” (syrup wafers), freshly made at my visit to the Netherlands on the way to Paris. Because they had filmed in The Netherlands I expected some of the cast to know those, and I was not disappointed. On the picture Erendira I. is holding the package in the hand. They were all great to meet close-up, and the picture is good, even if I always feel that I look a bit silly on pictures.

 

After this we had time until 1230, because there was a second autograph session, and most of us had done that already. Time to talk to and meet more fans – and have a bit to eat

At 1230 we had a panel with Tina D and Erendira I.

While Lana Wachowski deserves a lot of credit and love, because she was there at the filming all the time I felt that there had been no mention of the co-writer J. Michael Straczynski (JMS), so I went and asked them what kind of interaction they had with him during the creation of the show.

I was delighted by their answers. Especially, Tina told us that, in the beginning, JMS was a bit of a closed book, so, because she is very inquisitive, she tried to get to know the core of JMS, and when he opened up, she was delighted to find that they had  much more in common than she had thought – both with respect to the attitude to life in general, and on political issues.

(Having read Straczynski’s auto biography I think I understand a little better, his reservation to open up, at least at that time, but in the book he really did open up.)

Erendira, too, had a good experience interacting with JMS, and they are both very happy to get to know him.

When I returned to my seat, I found that quite a few of the fans were appreciative of my question and the answers we got.

When I asked Brian the same question, I realized that he had the (incorrect) impression that Straczynski was only involved in the writing of the first season, and that his reservations in opening up probably gave Brian the impression of less connectedness.

 

Another highlight was Michael Sommers performing some of his one-man show. He is so expressive (much like the Bug character) and leaves quite an impression with his performance.

 

Arriving near the end of the convention I finally realized that the Martin everyone was talking about, was none other than Martin Erhardt, who has made a good fan documentary video.

Before that we had the last gathering with all the fans and all the guests. The great finale had all the fans sing “What’s Up” for our guests, it was a great experience.

As always, the end of the convention generates sadness in most of us have. Many were in tears, and there was a lot of hugs given and received.

This was a very memorable convention, and I certainly intend to be there next year for Sense8Con3.

I will see if I can find some good pictures, and I will then share the best ones here, and possibly on my FB time line.

 

Watched and Read, March to June.

The watching and reading has been reduced a bit due to other activities, so here are 3 months worth:

Finished:

Supergirl, season 4, 8/10

Berlin Station (spy thriller), season 1, 5/10 with a friend

Black Lightning, season 2, 8/10

Star Trek Discovery, season 2, 8/10

Shadow Hunters, season 4 (aka. 3a), 7/10

Magicians, season 4, 8/10

Highlander, season 2, 7/10

Sense8 re-watch, except final episode, 10/10

Game of Thrones, season 8, 8/10

The Scorpion, season 1, 7/10

The OA, part 2 8/10

Films:

The Matrix (re-watch), 8/10

Matrix Reloaded, 7/10

Matrix Revolutions, 7/10,

as part of me watching more by the Wachowskis

Partly watched:

Jeremiah, season 1, with a friend (the show disappeared from HBO Nordic, but I managed to find both seasons on a DVD set (Rather expensive, but I wanted it anyway))

The Americans, season 6, with a friend

Legends of Tomorrow (not yet finished)

Started Cloak & Dagger, season 2

Started Roswell, New Mexico (2019 version), but did not get very far. It did not catch on too well in the first few episodes

 

Read: Finished “The Broken Earth” trilogy by N.K. Jemisin I like that very much, 9/10

 

The Iron Throne: Game of Thrones Is Finished. No Spoilers.

I watched the final episode of the whole Game of Thrones series.

I like it quite a bit, though the two final (short) seasons 7 and 8 felt rushed. I am aware that this is not necessarily the fault of the show runners. While they had got an outline of the books not (yet) written they did not have as much material to work with, and they probably miss several things that have been in George R.R. Matin’s head.

The missing part may also be due to the compression of the seasons made necessary by the decision makers at HBO.

Seasons 7 and 8 felt uneven from episode to episode, although the finale did tie up a lot of story lines, and was satisfactory to me. It even tied up something that several people were complaining about in the penultimate episode.

I like who ended up sitting on the throne (no spoilers). I did not quite see this coming, but it made sense to me. To me it was a bitter-sweet ending for most characters, which is much like real life can be.

I rate the final episode 9/10.

I may be back with more later, but that will be spoiler filled.

The Hugo Awards, Voting Has Started.

The voting for the Hugo awards (for those few who might not know: The annual fan award for the World Convention for Science Fiction) has started.
Also, I have a ton of Hugo Award material to go through before I can vote on – well – some of it. The Voter Package was made available today, and I downloaded it. Several GB, including graphic stories, images and podcasts. I am sure I cannot read/see all of it, but I will see/read some and vote accordingly.

SfifiCon, a One Day, Mainly Star Wars Con in Randers, Denmark.

Here is a report on a one-day con I attended in Denmark. I will resume my report on the Sense8Con 2 shortly.

On Saturday 13. April I went to a local con in the town of Randers.
The main theme of the con was Star Wars, but I did manage to find a few book related sellers. Nice to see that in an otherwise media related and merchandise related com.
I did meet a few old scifi friends and had nice chats wit them.
The highlight for me was a presentation by Nicholas Barbano and Mogens Høeghsberg on the development of the music of Star Wars which gave a bit of scifi film music history, and its changing style through the times, from a more classical music style at the early stage to a period with eerie electronic music, then partly thanks to John Williams, back to the symphonic/classical music style so well known from the music of Star Wars and much other science fiction films and TV.
The other part is, of course, meeting new nerdy friends and exchanging recommendations. I met quite a few people who had never heard of Sense8, so I gave them a briefing on what I think of it, so they could decide whether it is for them.

Near the end of the con I had a longer talk with Chris, who is sometimes stationed in remote places for weeks, and always brought material to watch, and he was running out of new (for him) stuff to watch. He was familiar with the first season of Babylon 5, and when I told him that it got better he decided that it was probably a good idea to add this to his watch list. Mentioning the creators of Sense8 and making a bit of a pitch for it, probably means that this goes on his watch list, too.
A very pleasant day.

Sense8Con 2 Part 2: Day one, Saturday

It started at breakfast. I was invited to a table with some fans, and there I met Birgit, the only other Danish Sense8 fan at the convention, at least as far as I know.
I am terrible with recalling names, so forgive me if I do not give all the correct names of many other people at the con.
First on the official program was the Welcoming Party which was essentially a welcoming panel. All guests were there, and gave a short introduction, plus we had some games of, e.g. guessing quotes.
Right behind me were two young women coming there from Dubai. I had a nice chat with them until the guests arrived.
All the guests looked very happy to be with the fans, and while some were much like their characters, others were completely different. Michael Sommers has much of the wonder and liveliness of Bug, while Sandra Fish is very different from the character of Janet. Tina Desai was more fun than I would have expected from seeing the character on screen.
After a short break we had the autograph session (actually two sessions). All of the guests took time to speak with every fan who wanted to. They looked like they were having a good time. My ticket included the 4 main guests, but I purchased one for the bonus guest, too. I am glad I added an autograph purchase for the bonus guest (Sandra), because the line she had was very short, sometimes non-existent.

In between the two autograph sessions we had a panel (Q&A) with Sandra Fish
She was very kind, very unlike the character she plays, but she loves playing “unpopular” characters, Nomi’s mother Janet. Someone who hates losing control over her life.
She was telling us that in order to create the character she felt the need to get to know and love the character, as I understand many actors do.
Sandra told us about her work with prisoners who would die imprisoned, and how the ones helped still continue the work with others in the same situation. Very touching.
During the second autograph section of the day it was time to meet more fans outside the panels.
I was introduced to several, but the trouble was recalling all the names. Here are a few:

German fan Ursula who was active in the campaign to revive Sense8 after the canceling of the show at the second season. She has also attended Fedcon in Germany, and I am sure that I have seen her asking questions at panels there, too.
Matteo from Italy, a very enthusiastic fan (well, I should say that anyone coming to a convention dedicated to one story should be).
Derek from Scotland who, at the first Sense8con earned the nickname The Old Man of Hoy, due to his Scottish accent.
Crystal from Colorado, USA.
Manu, a German teacher living in The Netherlands. She had actually taught German to a number of my colleagues I had when I worked there.

After the lunch break, more panels.
Brian J. Smith told us about him being the only member of his family in Texas who voted differently in the elections. He loves his family despite that difference.
He talked about how he does not like violence, and how he had to learn how to fight physically, OK, choreographed fights, but techniques to make it look more realistic.
How he went out with police to get a sense of how real police work is done, again in order to act in a more realistic way.
Seeing and listening to Erendira Ibarra really gave the impression of a lot of the actress being in the character.
She also talked about living in abuse, and how she initially thought that this was a Mexican cultural problem, but that the #metoo action recently taught her that it is a much more common problem for women all over the world.
Michael Sommers is a fun guy to see on stage on Saturday he did a flash preview of his one-man-show that he did recently. He was asked if he would do some more, and promised that he would on Sunday.

There is a lot of Michael in the character of Bug, especially his body language and his use of language.
Last panel of the day was with Tina Desai. Despite having a bit of trouble hearing everything she said in her very fast and somewhat accented speech, it was quite a pleasure to attend this panel.
When asked about Indian culture she immediately asked, from which of the many states in India. The country has a lot of cultural differences and dozens of languages spoken.
Tina is not quite the quiet type we see on screen as Kala. She is actually very lively and has a quick wit.

This was the end of the official part of the first day of Sense8Con2. A group of fans went out to get some dinner. The smaller group I went with ended up having pizza, and a longer talk with Ursula about Sense8 and a lot of other stuff.
An that is the end of a very pleasant and fun first day of Sense8Con 2.
Sunday will be described in a later post.

Going to Sense8Con 2, an Introduction.

In the week end 30/31 March I was attending Sense8Con 2 in Paris.
This was my first travel more than 100km from my home, since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2017, and had subsequent chemo therapy and an operation. It is gone now, and I just have to go to control visits. They keep an eye (or a CT scan) on you for about 10 years to check if it is really gone.
As many of you can imagine I am very happy to live in a country with universal health care.
I did have a ticket to the previous (first) Sense8Con last year, but had to stay home for the treatment, so now I take my “revenge” this year, going to several conventions and other stuff abroad.
Back to the travels:
When going to a week end convention like this one I usually want to do more than driving 1300km back and forth, so I arranged to visit 3 friends on the travel, one scifi friend in The Netherlands, an old colleague, also in the Netherlands, and another scifi friend in Cologne, Germany.

I have been in Paris before, so a general sight seeing session is not very necessary, but I decided to have a single day to visit a few of the Sense8 filming sites in Paris. The most famous one is, of course, hard to miss: The Eiffel Tower which I went to at the end of the day. I walked several hours, just taking some general photos, but Also seeing, from the outside, the center for the Arab world, and the nearby bridge, where filming was done, too.
At a later stage I want to visit more of the Sense8 filming sites, especially in Europe. On the way to Paris I decided, for time restriction reasons, to bypass the site in Belgium where the filming of The Lacuna was done. I will take that one, and probably the Dutch filming sites later, as I have connections in The Netherlands.

All in all I was driving just under 3000km (2000 miles), but it was definitely worth it.

The show itself is created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) who co-wrote all episodes with the exception of the season 2 finale which, for now is the final episode.

While JMS was heavily involved in the scriptwriting he was not so heavily involved in the production as such. That task was mainly done by Lana Wachowski who did a stellar job in the filming of the show.

Now for the convention:
The guests for the convention were 2 sensates and 3 supporting characters:
Brian J. Smith (Will)
Tina Desai (Kala)
Erendira Ybarra (Daniela)
Michael Sommers (Bug)
Sandra Fish (Janet – Nomi’s mother)
Friday evening, after walking through the streets of Paris, I made the registration for the con, but did not meet too many fans yet.

There were panels (Q&A), autograph sessions, photo sessions and meet&greet sessions. I did not do meet&greet sessions this time, but I just might do that next year (to be decided).

  • and, of course 2-300 of the Sense8 fanmily (spelling intentional)

Next post is expected to cover day one (Saturday) of the conventions. Let us just say: Many meetings.

Watched and Read in February.

Not too much this month, but still:
Watched:
Kingdom Season 1
MarvelInhumans S1: – 8 episodes

Continued (just a few episodes) :
Magicians S4 – weekly episodes
RoswellNewMexico – weekly episodes
StarTrekDiscoveryS2 – weekly episodes
Supergirl – weekly episodes
BlackLightning – weekly episodes.

With a friend, just a few episodes :
Highlander Season 2
Jeremiah Season 2
Kingdom (first episode)
BerlinStation

Read:
N.K. Jemisin : The Obelisk Gate (Book 2 of Broken Earth trilogy)